Archive for the 'Crummy' Category

A Reflection for ARTGD 300 (or a lesson in karma)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A copy of this memo was recently mailed to me by my friend in Chicago. I don’t know why he sent it to me — it was not accompanied by any other note. But I can imagine that it’s meant for a good laugh, and nothing else. He’s that kind of a person.

The memo was originally written by a design professor when my friend and I were in college. Let’s call him… Carl. He taught the highest level of graphic design history you were required to take as a foundation-level student. Someone stole his wallet near the end of the semester, and he basically wrote this memo to tell us how sorry he was to not be living in a world where you could trust each other. We all felt shameful, broke down and cried for his forgiveness. Well, not really. If only it was that simple…

(more…)

Ironic?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Someone at work sent around this story, and it made me want to verify how well these search queries were working. That is not what this post is about. I often use goo along with Google Japan to search for Japanese websites, and as I was trying those Japanese keywords, I wanted to see what other search engines were available in Japan. Not knowing exactly how to look for one, I just searched for「サーチエンジン」(“search engine” in Japanese) in goo. On the results page, goo was — to my surprise — the 9th item listed. I thought it would come in first. So I tried the same thing on Google — this time in English, obviously.

Where was Google? ON THE THIRD FRIGGING PAGE.

Alta Vista came in first, and Google UK beat Google.com by coming in on the second page. Live Search beat out Google UK. Woo-hoo, Microsoft.

I guess it doesn’t matter since I was using Google to do the search, but if more people are able to use the same algorithm on sites other than Google, like through their licensing — doesn’t it become more critical that Google itself comes up earlier in a search for “search engine”? Yes, I’ve seen the “What If Google Was Optimized” page, and ha-ha, that would be ridiculous. But can’t they at least rig something to show Google.com on the first page?

Evangelicals have smaller… you know what

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

There seems to be plenty of critiques of this year’s presidential candidate websites. Here’s something I noticed for myself.

While I was looking for Hillary’s and Obama’s speeches from last week, I observed that Clinton’s site was smaller than Obama’s in width! At where I work, we have been targeting 1024×768 for quite some time. Obama’s site seems to fit that resolution, and Clinton’s, while bigger than the next smaller threshold of 800×600, was considerably smaller — about 100 pixels narrower than Obama’s.

Obama screenshot

Clinton screenshot

The difference of 100 pixels makes Clinton’s site look just a bit more crammed and busy than her rival’s. BarackObama.com, by comparison, benefits from the extra white space by communicating (at least to me) a sense of confidence.

So it got me curious — I went to the two other remaining candidates’ websites.

JohnMcCain.com: Black? You really went with black for your background color? Anyway, the screen resolution is even bigger than Barack’s. Guess we know who the real man is!

McCain screenshot

Huckabee screenshot

And here’s the punchline… Mike Huckabee’s site targets 800×600! Over a year ago, it was reported that only 17% of all monitors support up to 800×600. It says something about how mainstream this guy is aspiring to get, huh?

Yummy for Obama, crummy for Huckabee! And if Obama and McCain win nominations for their respective party, you know their websites’ size really mattered.

Lesson of the day: don’t ever buy a hair product at a salon or a barbershop, even at a cheap-o place like Rudy’s

Monday, February 11, 2008

OMG, I was too much of a chicken to tell them to take it back after they told me the price. There’s a reason those shelves are always fully stocked.

I was so shocked, so I looked up its retail price on Amazon, and it’s about what I paid. So I guess I feel a little better knowing that it’s not like Rudy’s was trying to rip me off too much. But come on! It cost more than the haircut itself!

On a positive note, I can carry this on a plane without ever worrying about getting it confiscated. It’s tiny!

Coming soon: another blog post

Monday, January 21, 2008

Yes, you read about it here first, folks. Yummy or Crummy will be adding another blog post here sometime in the very near future. Do hold your breath, and don’t sit back and relax, because before you know it my new blog post will kick you in the teeth and throw you down like your daddy never could, no matter how much he drank.

Thanks, flood water

Saturday, December 8, 2007

This past Sunday and Monday, Seattle (and pretty much rest of the northwest) was hit with heavy rain that caused flood in many areas. We’ve been in our house long enough to know we had a leak in the front concrete stoop, but we failed to protect it once again. The water came in from the unfinished area of the basement, and it traveled to the lowest part of the house, which we unfortunately learned is our office.

I was so freaking busy at work this week, so I didn’t have time to do anything about it — which was super frustrating because by Thursday we could smell the mold growing on the carpet. Lucretia had wisely moved some things off the floor by Monday evening, so not much was damaged. But we knew the carpet had to go.

So today, I finally had some time to get down there and rip up the smelly carpet. First I had to move everything to the TV room, which is also in the basement but seems to be safe from flooding because of its slightly higher location.

Here are two photos to compare what the office used to look like, and how it looks now. The concrete floor underneath is looking decent, a small consolation because we didn’t know what kind of nasty mess we would find under the soggy goodness.

Office before the flood

Office after the flood

There’s still a lot of work left — we have to scrub the floor, rip up the molding, install new molding, and paint the floor. We’ll probably keep it uncarpeted until we figure out the leak situation.

Oh Comcast, you trickster you

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I called Comcast to remove some items from my cable service tonight. Long story short, I’ve been overpaying for my cable compared to how much I really watch TV.

Anyway I called at 8:30 pm, and upon following the menu to press 4 to REMOVE or CANCEL your services, the automated voice on the other side told me that their office is closed after 8 pm, and that I needed to call back the next day.

Hmm, I wondered. I could have sworn I’ve called them later at night to report the service outage and whatnot. I think I’ve called at 9:55 pm on a Sunday night that Sopranos season permiere was about to air, rushing to add HBO and I somehow managed to talk to a live person.

So I called again, and this time pressed 3 to ADD a service. And voila! Within 2 seconds I was talking to a live person, and he politely took care of my request.

To be fair, whenever I call Comcast, I come away thinking their customer service is one of the best out of any utility companies I’ve had to deal with. So I didn’t want to complain to the guy about the trick they play on the phone — it’s not his fault that his company engages in a deceptive practice to turn away people who call to cancel their service. But it makes me glad that less of my money will be going to support a company like that!

Plaxo is dumb

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I created a Plaxo account a while ago to try it out for work. Someone recently sent me a request to connect, so I said what the heck, and dug it up to sign on.

But then I saw this really annoying module on my “pulse stream” page. It looked like it should be showing my Flickr photos, but it was showing generic photos instead. Seemed like some connection/authentication issue. So I clicked on “connect.”

dumb plaxo 1

That’s when I was asked, “How do you know You?”

Huh? Thought it was dumb, but I figured I can fix it by clicking “connect” after selecting all the different ways I could possibly know me.

dumb plaxo 2

Nope — I cannot connect with myself. So the annoying module persists. There’s NO WAY I’ll keep using this thing. Super crummy!

Steve Krug speaks at a SIGCHI meeting

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I checked out this event for three reasons:

  1. I never read Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think, but I read/heard it being referenced so much, that I felt that I shouldn’t miss a chance to see someone like that for free.
  2. I wanted to take the opportunity to attempt to network and do a little bit of recruiting since we’re currently hiring for an IA.
  3. I’ve never been inside Adobe. I was just curious!

Steve KrugWell — mission accomplished, I suppose. #1… To be honest, Krug’s talk that promised to reveal secrets behind creating a “perfect web page” was a bit disappointing, because it turned out to be nothing more than hammering home two of the most basic IA/user-interface design points for an hour. The two pointers — clearly indicate where you are on the site by highlighting a nav item or using a breadcrumb trail, and use a clear and consistent page title on each page — are not revolutionary by any means, and they’re something most UI designers practice without thinking about them. In fact, we do so much more nuanced thinking to solve complex UI problems everyday. To be fair to Krug, it might be true that some designers forget the basics when we get caught up in small details — but I still think he was overstating how many websites really do miss these two mindnumbingly simple steps. And he was truly exaggerating when he implied — although he cleverly never said so — that having those two things will give you a perfect web page.

Then again, I have to remind myself that it was a free event after all, and his job is to educate the ones who may not be as familiar with the basics as others.

I still liked Krug as a speaker. He comes across as a genuine guy, and he reminds us all to always look at things from the user’s point of view. Also, he doesn’t speak with the Nielsen-esque conviction that you must follow all the rules to be successful. He recognizes that there are plenty of gray areas, that we all make mistakes, and that’s why we should frequently test and evaluate our work to catch the problems. For example, he was extremely kind to the site owner when we found that a “home” link on her site that we were viewing live as a group turned out to be a broken link. (At the end of his talk we all looked at URLs — suggested by the audience — to apply his two pointers.) Instead of singling out that site to talk about how important it is to check your site for broken links, Krug simply reminded us that everyone’s sites contain errors like that and more all the time. To him it’s not bad to make mistakes — but it is if you don’t find out by testing with users.

Oh, one more thing. He has not finished his “Site Navigation Identification Chart” — so that was not shared as promised at this time. He did say that his idea is based on plane spotting cards from World War II.

#2 was bit of a disappointment as well. I met a few people, but I didn’t quite get a chance to talk to as many people as I had hoped. If you are looking at this post and are looking for an IA opportunity, please send your resume to careers[at]pop.us.

#3 — I really didn’t see enough of Adobe to make any impression. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I guess it’s no surprise that it looked like any other corporate giant.

(By the way I illustrated his mug since I didn’t have any photo that I could legally use for this post…)

Humidity, earthquake, and typhoon

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Oh how I missed you, Japan!

It’s been more than two weeks since we arrived here. I hope to do a more detailed post later, but I wanted to do a quick update to talk about three things.

Humidity
Oh my frigging sweaty balls! I forgot how humid and uncomfortable summer can be in Japan. We change our pajamas daily because we wake up every morning in a pool of our own sweat.

Earthquake
Niigata area was hit again with a big earthquake. It looks pretty scary, but fortunately for us we were not affected.

Typhoon
The day after we went to Kyushu, a pretty big typhoon entered the country. We were greeted with rain and some strong wind, but we escaped the worst from this potential disaster, too. In other areas people suffered landslides and drowning.

Time and time again I’m reminded of the resilience of the people here. We feel lucky to have survived these things!

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